The Bahamas has promised to put on a “razzle-dazzle” show after it was officially chosen to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games here today.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) made the announcement following the first day of its Executive Board meeting, where it was unanimously decided to award the event to Bahamas.
“For us, it’s history in the making,” Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Wellington Miller told insidethegames.
“It’s the first time we have hosted a multi-sport event.
“We are capable and you will see that.
“We are going to razzle-dazzle the Commonwealth.”
The Bahamas, a chain of 700 islands covering just 13,939 kilometres of land scattered over 3,884 square km of clear tropical sea, had been the only bidder to stage the Games following the withdrawal of the original hosts St. Lucia last September.
They had pulled out because of fears they would not be ready in time to host the event.
Louise Martin, President of the CGF, was pleased the event will be staying in the Caribbean.
“It’s very important we have been able to keep it in the same region,” she told insidethegames.
The event, due to be staged between July 17 and 24 next year, is being financially underwritten by the Bahamas Government but the BOC will work closely with the CGF.
“This is a leap of faith by the Bahamas because they only have 16 months to organise it,” said Martin.
“But they believe they can do it and so do we.”
The Commonwealth Youth Games is contested by athletes aged 14 to 18.
More than 1,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories are expected to compete in up to seven sports in Nassau.
It will be the biggest sports event to be held in Bahamas.
They did, however, successfully stage the 2014 and 2015 editions of the International Association of Athletics Federations World Relays, an event whose competitors included Jamaica’s six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt.
The event will be staged in Bahamas’ capital Nassau, with the 15,000-capacity Thomas A Robinson Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth’s Sports Centre the hub.
There will be seven sports on the programme.
Athletics, boxing, judo, road cycling, rugby sevens and swimming will be joined by beach soccer, a sport that has never featured before in any edition of the Commonwealth Games.
Miller claimed that all of the sports will take place within walking distance of each other, with the exception of beach soccer.
“We are going to use this event as a launchpad for our young athletes,” said Miller.
“This will do a lot for sport in Bahamas.”
- By Duncan Mackay at the Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Gibraltar
- Republished with permission insidethegames.com